January 29, 2016
The Probation Commission was created in 1903 and is one of the County’s oldest official bodies. Commission members are designated and authorized to be called “Commissioners” in official correspondence and in the conduct of official business.
Under the provisions of Section 240 of the California State the Welfare and Institution Code, the establishment of the Commission is mandatory and consequently has a permanent status in county government. It also meets the additional requirement that each county in California have a juvenile justice commission. It is given this authority under Article IV, Section 14 of the Los Angeles County Charter. Pursuant to this County Charter, the Commission is an executive office and serves as an advisory oversight body to the Chief Probation Officer and the Probation Department.
On February 23, 1960, by Board order, the Committee was increased from nine to ten members.
In April of 1987, The Legislature amended the Welfare and Institutions Code at the request of the County Board of Supervisors to rename the Probation Commission. In July of the same year, this action was signed into law by the Governor as part of AB 1287.
On September 7, 1999 by order of the Board of Supervisors, the Probation Commission was increased from ten to fifteen members each serving four‐year terms. Three appointments are granted each of the five County Supervisors so as to reflect the diversity of the community. The Commission is charged with oversight of the administration of the juvenile delinquency laws in Los Angeles County and Commissioners are selected because of their varied backgrounds and expertise. They come from the private and public sectors as well as academia. Fields of expertise include education, mental health and criminal justice and law enforcement. The Commissioners provide a citizen interface between the Department, the community and the Board of Supervisors.
The Probation Commission holds regular public meetings on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month from 10 A.M to 12 P.M. Their public agendas include reviewing programs and procedures developed and implemented by the Probation Department. They also conduct facility inspections and report their findings to address issues that impact the administration of the Los Angeles County juvenile justice system. The Commission also develops recommendations to the appropriate County Departments and issues an Annual Report to the Board of Supervisors.
In its capacity as liaison for the public, it encourages interaction between community representatives, the County courts, the Board of Supervisors and those juvenile wards and adults under the jurisdiction of the Probation Department.
The focus of the Probation Commission is to assist all Los Angeles County Departments in ensuring that the Los Angeles County juvenile justice system is humane and effective and provides cursory advisory oversight to the operation impacting adult probationers.
The Commission is committed to promoting the health, education and success of youth involved in the juvenile justice in order to redirect youth who have exhibited antisocial behavior.
Joe Gardner, President
Los Angeles County Probation Commission
Los Angeles County Probation Department
9150 East Imperial Highway
Downey, California 90242
(Cell) (626) 407-7571
The Probation Department will be facing significant challenges ahead as they work to find a new chief and implement the Department’s three-year Strategic Plan.
The juvenile side of Probation is emerging from six years of federal monitoring. It will be important to assure the Department does not fall back into court-ordered federal monitoring. Our core function is to conduct inspections of camps and facilities throughout the year to assure there are no conditions that would trigger the return of mandated monitoring.
The Department’s Strategic Plan will be an ambitious undertaking. It is my belief that the efforts of oversight by the Commission must coincide with implementation of the Department’s plan.
- Improve public safety by reducing recidivism.
- Operate facilities that promote healthy development and skills to be achieved by:
- Educational and vocational skills programs
- Internal quality assurance and improvement strategies
- Reforming use of the Special Handling Unit(s)
- Implement “Youth Councils” within each facility
- Population and families survey
- Enhance victim’s rights.
- Attract, develop and maintain an exemplary and motivated workforce.
- Enhance the culture of the Department.
The Commission will continue to provide oversight of the additional recidivism prevention and skills development programs.
Commission inspections will incorporate oversight of Goal #2 and report our findings of concern to the Department.
The Commission shall seek to review the “Population and Families Surveys” throughout the year to assure humane care and safety within the Department’s facilities and will monitor the implementation of the “Youth Councils” within each facility.
The Probation Commission shall continue to move forward with the mission of providing independent, unbiased oversight of the Probation Department. It will be important for the Commission to petition for funding and resources to achieve this mission and achieve parity with other oversight and advisory bodies within the County.
We also have a duty to submit an Annual Commission Report to the Board of Supervisors. Our other duties are to submit formal reports and responses from the Probation Department to the State Department of Justice. The Commission will pursue resources and funding for training of new commissioners and continual training for all commissioners so that mandated inspections and reporting are consistent and thorough.
The Commission will also assure transparency with the public at large and must comply with the Brown Act. All facility and annual reports will be available for public inspection through our webpage along with our agendas and other relevant material.
The Commission will continue to be focused, professional and efficient in the manner in which it conducts its public business.
What is outlined in this document is by no means all the Commission will be tasked to do. It will take the spirit of cooperation and teamwork to do the work ahead. I look forward to working with all members of the Commission, the Probation Department and Board of Supervisors.
Thank you in advance for your collaboration as we go forward in the months to come.
Joe Gardner, President
Los Angeles County Probation Commission